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ERR: Usefulness of direct interpretation into Estonian of ETV+ live broadcasts questionable

ETV+ editor-in-chief Darja Saar.
ETV+ editor-in-chief Darja Saar. Source: (ERR)

Editor-in-chief of ERR’s Russian-language TV channel ETV+, Darja Saar, said in an interview published on Monday that the Language Act demanded that all of their programs broadcast live be made available with direct Estonian-language interpretation, which cost an unreasonable amount of money.

In detail, the issue concerns the channel’s talk shows, which by law need to be made available in the state language, which is Estonian. For otherwise popular programs like the channel’s morning show, this was a problem, Saar said in her interview with ERR’s Russian-language online news.

“Nobody needs the synchronous translation, but to discontinue it it would be necessary to change the law. But all politicians I’ve talked to about this topic, have interpreted this as an attempt to introduce Russian as a national language,” Saar said.

The channel has an annual budget of €400,000 earmarked for translation. The interpretation services for its live broadcasts makes up a significant amount of this money.

For the same amount they could continue an existing show, and in addition add another political program, Saar added. “But we keep to the law. I hope everybody is happy,” she remarked.

According to the editor, the programs run with synchronous translation into Estonian weren’t popular with the audience. People changed the channel as soon as one of them started. The station had been getting questions, with viewers asking how to switch the synchronous translation off, and ETV+ then had to explain to viewers how to operate their TVs, Saar said.

Members of ERR’s management have raised the question with politicians as well, saying that independently from the budget, the usefulness of the direct interpretations of ETV+ live shows into Estonian was questionable.

The Language Act requires all TV shows broadcast in Russian on ETV+ to have Estonian subtitles, and all live broadcasts to be made available with direct interpretation into Estonian. Other Russian-language channels don't have the same restriction.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

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